Why does your brand matter?
Articulating this is a challenge, but smart brands realize that the answer lies in why their company exists beyond making money. This is a company’s core value or mission.
Storytelling is the best way for brands to convey their core values, and below are some incredible stories from some of the world’s leading brands. These are not stories about product features and benefits. They are stories that relate to our collective humanity.
Consider these examples as you brainstorm your marketing strategy in 2020 and beyond.
Lamborghini: A true Christmas story for Lamborghini’s Real Lovers
Publish date: Dec. 22, 2019
Description: A father-son passion project turns into a real-life Lamborghini Aventador.
Notes: This heartwarming story coincided with Christmas and reinforces Lamborghini as an aspirational brand for devoted car lovers. Also, it makes Lamborghini feel more accessible. That’s hard to do for a vehicle that retails for ~$300k.
Earned media: CNN, Daily Mail, FOX News
BMW: Retirement is about exploring your wide open future
Publish date: May 22, 2019
Description: Follow Mercedes executive Dieter Zetsche on his final day before retirement. Once home, he opens his garage and drives off in a BMW i8 Roadster.
Notes: A touching tribute or an incredible troll job of BMW’s biggest competitor? It’s both. This shows BMW has a sense of humor and it distinguishes BMW as the fun and adventurous brand compared to Mercedes, which is tied to work (i.e. what the executive is escaping).
Earned media: Car and Driver
DSM: Unsung heroes of science
Publish date: June 24, 2015
Description: Peek inside the lives of scientists around the world who make painful personal sacrifices while facing long odds in an effort to solve humankind’s most daunting challenges.
Notes: DSM, a global science company, produced the best science-themed video we’ve ever seen. It’s a big win to associate their brand with tails of incredible innovation.
Earned media: AdAge
Chipotle: Back to the start
Publish date: Sept. 18, 2013
Description: Coldplay’s “The Scientist” (performed by Willie Nelson) forms the soundtrack of this video, which gets at the heart of Chipotle’s mission to “Cultivate a better world.”
Notes: Chipotle has made many recent missteps, but this short animation originally from 2012 is extremely poignant and makes a compelling case for sustainable farming. At the time, the video drew a clear line between Chipotle and other QSR chains.
Earned media: New York Times, AdAge
Taiwan Cooperative Bank: Dream Rangers
Publish date: Jan. 31, 2011
Description: Based on a real story, lifelong friends at a retirement community unshackle themselves from the burdens of aging and go on a 13-day motorcycle road trip around Taiwan.
Notes: TC Bank delivers a powerful message with a mix of adventure and nostalgia to remind people to never stop dreaming. The implication, of course, is that TC Bank can help you achieve your dreams. Smart marketing.
Earned media: Wall Street Journal, The Guardian
Spanish Lottery: El Mayor Premio es Compartirlo
Publish date: Nov. 14, 2016
Description: A grandmother in a Spanish village mistakenly believes she won the lottery. Rather than rain on her parade by letting her know it’s untrue, her family and the townspeople play along and get wrapped up in the hysteria.
Notes: If you don’t tear up at the 4:30 mark, you don’t have a soul. In the U.S., many people refer to the lottery as the “stupid tax,” but this video will force you to rethink that. Could the lottery actually be a galvanizing force of hope and excitement for a community? Maybe so.
Earned media: The Irish Times
Ariel Matic: #ShareTheLoad
Publish date: Feb. 24, 2016
Description: Set in India, a father pens a wistful letter to his grown daughter to apologize for setting the wrong example by making her mother handle all of the household chores. The father didn’t realize his mistake until he observed his daughter burdened by balancing work duties and home life.
Notes: This is probably the first time that a laundry detergent brand elevated a conversation around gender roles at home. In an era where many people self-identify by the brands they select, Ariel Matic makes a clear and powerful statement on what they stand for.
Earned media: Quartz, ABC News, Vogue
Dove: Real Beauty Sketches
Publish date: April 14, 2013
Description: A professional sketch artist blindly draws portraits of women based on their self-descriptions. He repeats the process based on others’ descriptions of the same women. When the portraits are presented to the women side-by-side, it reveals how the women’s perceptions of themselves are far different than reality.
Notes: Beauty brands’ campaigns often apply pressure on women to fit a certain beauty standard. Dove takes the opposite approach through an eye-opening social experiment. The idea is that women shouldn’t be so hard on themselves, and the implicit message is that Dove products are there to help.
Square: Yassin Falafel
Publish date: Jan. 26, 2017
Description: This is the story of Yassin, a Syrian refugee who moved his family to Knoxville, Tenn. without knowing a single person. With the help of the Muslim community, he launched his own falafel shop, “Yassin’s Falafel House,” and built a new life for his family despite facing adversity from seemingly all angles.
Notes: This film is part of Square’s “Dreams” campaign, which you can learn more about here. It’s a thoughtful film that explores many themes, but at its core, it’s a story of hope and optimism. Square’s purpose is economic empowerment, and this is captured beautifully and poetically.
Other notable brand videos: Berlitz, Costa Sunglasses, Dollar Shave Club, Renault Clio